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New Coal Harbour School FAQs

Lord Roberts Annex PAC New Coal Harbour School Q&A
(Update May 10, 2024)

The following is a compilation of information gathered by the Lord Robert Annex PAC, including meetings with Vancouver School Board (VSB) & BC Hydro on February 22, 2024 and Vancouver Park Board & VSB on March 8, 2024.


1. Timing

Q: When will the new school open?
A: The planned occupancy date has been pushed to late January 2025, meaning a Spring 2025 mid-term move in-date may be feasible, unless there are further delays to construction completion. Mid-term move would transplant the current students and staff of the Lord Roberts Annex only.

Q: The building is mixed-use (school, housing, daycare). Will phased occupancy be a possible (e.g. school opens before housing)?
A: The architect and contractor have advised that phased occupancy is likely not possible.

2. Grades/Catchment/Staffing

Q: What grades will the new Coal Harbour school accommodate on opening day?
A: If it’s a mid-year move, only current K-3 students from Lord Roberts Annex would be starting at the school. For September 2025 start, K-7 is anticipated. E exact composition of the school will depend on how many students will register for each of grades 4.  School will eventually be a K-7 school (may take a couple of years).

Q: Are there any anticipated changes to the catchment boundaries?
A: The West End is currently a shared catchment between the two schools (Lord Roberts Elementary and Coal Harbour School). No changes are planned for the current West End catchment boundaries at this time. VSB may look at new boundary areas at a later date.

Q: Will students currently enrolled in Lord Roberts Annex have priority for the New Coal Harbour School? as well as their siblings? Will students in Grade 4 who recently graduated from the Annex receive any priority?
A: See answer to question 2 above regarding opening day. VSB is planning to poll the catchment (existing Lord Roberts Elementary and Roberts Annex students) to ask where people want their children to attend. VSB will do their best to place families at the school of their preference. While a traditional sibling priority system is not planned, the VSB will do their best to accommodate siblings together but cannot guarantee it.

Q: Will all existing teachers and staff from Lord Robert Annex move to the New School?
A: VSB Response: Staffing will be handled by VSB HR.

3. New School Supports

Q: What school supports (e.g., new furniture, equipment) will be provided to the New Coal Harbour School. What will not be provided and would require fundraising efforts?
A: School will be equipped to VSB district standards. As for fundraising, the PAC will work with administrators and staff to determine what additional items may be needed. As we are moving from K-3 to a K-7 school, the library materials may be a consideration. There will be library funding from the VSB, but the PAC could look at raising funds to supplement the VSB funding.

Q: Are there plans or layouts of the new Coal Harbour Elementary available?
A: More information on the new school is available here. Drawings of the new school are available here. No new renderings or pictures are available.

4. New Coal Harbour School Playground and Outdoor Area

The original Coal Harbour Park playground equipment is sized for much younger children (approx. 2-6 years age) and the existing play surface is degraded and appears at end of life. The PAC has advocated for age-appropriate K-7 playground equipment for the new Coal Harbour school.

Q:  Is a playground replacement planned?
A: The Coal Harbour Park, which belongs to the Park Board, will serve the dual purpose of playground for the New Coal Harbour School, while remaining a public park accessible by the general public. VSB Ministry of Educations funding does not currently include for purchase and install new or replacement playground equipment. The VSB does not have minimum standards for playground space for schools. The Vancouver Park Board has not allocated funding or planned for a playground replacement.

Q: The PAC asked for details on a plan for physical security and separation measures to promote safety and security for the children at the New Coal Harbour School when playing outdoors. We understand this was being taken back to Parks Board for discussion. We are still waiting for an update.
A: Neither the VSB nor Vancouver Park Board has allocated funding or planned for improvements for safety and security. Following a meeting with the Lord Roberts Annex PAC March 8, 2024, the Vancouver Park Board and VSB agreed to commence discussions regarding the playground and safety and security measures.

Q: Will there be opportunities for shared use of the Coal Harbour Community Centre, given the limited open space and outdoor play areas?
A: The Vancouver Park Board runs the Community Centre. There is not current planning between VSB and Vancouver Park Board for shared use of the Community Centre.

5. PAC Transition

Q: The PAC had requested VSB provide us with its recommendations and guidance, based on its past experience in similar contexts, on PAC transition considerations and a contact person or people who have worked on similar transitions at other schools. (School Act requires application to the board to establish a PAC for a school).
A: As the school is not closing – just moving, VSB suggests for PAC to do just do name change. Not a school closing – just. Recommendation to ensure gaming grant paperwork complete.

6. Childcare, Before and After School Care

Q: Will the VSOCC childcare offer priority spaces to siblings of students enrolled in the new school? (This was not done at Lord Nelson School and daycare in East Vancouver when the new school was built and the daycare had children from out of catchment, while the siblings of the school kids didn’t get in.)
A: VSOCC has been appointed as operator for the early years program. Construction is not expected to be completed until 2025.  Once a more definitive completion date is confirmed VSOCC will establish and communicate enrollment priorities.

Q: Will the YMCA before and after school care program offer priority to students currently enrolled in before and after care at Nelson Park YMCA (or Lord Roberts YMCA)?
A: Yes, they will. Further they will only be offering spaces to children enrolled at the Coal Harbour School. Families are welcome to join their waitlist now. If there are more families on the list than spaces, they will offer via lottery.

Q: Currently the Coal Harbour Community Center provides before care and after care for Lord Roberts Elementary school only. Will Coal Harbour Elementary be provided special registration for Coal Harbour students and how will parents be notified on registering their children for the before and after care? Will this also be provided before the move to the new school is made? For those who live in Coal Harbour will there be special registration priority to avoid us having to pick up and drop off our kids at Gordon Neighborhood House or West End Community Center?
A: For operational purposes, the Coal Harbour Community Center will not be expanding to the new school. Sometime ago, there was a thought to have the Coal Harbour program service the new Coal Harbour school, however since the program is full and continues to stay full, the Community Center has decided not to. If the program were to expand in size (that may be an option in the future) but currently there is no plan for expansion. The childcare and afterschool care programs are independent of the VSB work. VSB will make best effort to align school opening timelines with childcare opening timelines.

7. Travel to School Safety Concerns/Vision Zero

Q: Parents of students living in the West End have expressed safety concerns about students having to cross several busy streets (Robson, Alberni, Georgia, Pender) to access the new school. While we’ve seen engagement regarding the Bute Street Upgrades, what are planned improvements to ensure the safety of students walking, biking, or using other active transportation to access the new school? Will these planned upgrades be complete in advance of the opening date for the new school?
A: VSB is provided some dedicated bike lane improvements along Broughton and Hasting Street. Lord Roberts Annex PAC has requested VSB to forward details of extent of improvements. We are awaiting a response. VSB confirmed City of Vancouver is planning improvements to Bute Greenway and associated pedestrian/bike line. Details and timeline are not yet available. VSB will review options to use Crossing Guards for safe crossings.

8. Lord Roberts Annex Replacement School

Q: What is the VSB's concrete commitment to building a school on the Annex site upon completion of the Hydro Project?
A: Capital funding for the replacement school at the Annex site is approved. VSB has hired to Consultant Team and preliminary planning and design is underway.

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